Pranab heads to South Africa, UAE, Russia

May 9th, 2008 - 9:23 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday begins from South Africa a week-long three-nation tour that will also take him to the United Arab Emirates and Russia. In South Africa, Mukherjee will attend the IBSA (India,Brazil South Africa) trilateral commission meeting at Cape Town in the Western Cape Province.

He will meet his counterparts, Brazil’s Celso Amorim and South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and discuss with them a broad swathe of issues to deepen economic and strategic cooperation among the three economic powerhouses of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The three ministers will also firm up the agenda for the third IBSA summit which New Delhi will host in October.

Mukherjee will head to Abu Dhabi and Dubai May 12 on a bilateral visit that will put the spotlight on India’s economic diplomacy in the oil-rich Gulf region - home to a 4.5 million-strong Indian diaspora.

He will meet UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He will also call on the Vice-President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai May 13.

Mukherjee’s UEA visit will focus on attracting investment in India’s burgeoning infrastructure sector. He will unveil India’s vision of its ties with West Asia at Abu Dhabi’s prestigious Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research. Around 1.5 million Indians live and work in the UAE.

After wrapping up his two-day visit to the UAE, the minister goes May 14 to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of BRIC countries and a trilateral meeting between India, China and Russia.

Brazil’s Amorim will join Mukherjee, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss coordination of their strategies on global issues like multilateral trade negotiations and to deepen economic cooperation among the four countries.

This will be the first meeting among foreign ministers of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), a concept first articulated by Goldman Sachs in 2003 to underline complementarities among the four economies that will make them the economic powerhouse of the world in a few decades.

This will be followed by the trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia who last met in the Chinese city of Harbin. The three countries are keen to expand their economic cooperation in the trilateral framework and work closely on issues where they have shared positions like global trade and environment.

As this will be first high-level visit from the Indian side to Russia after President Dmitry Medvedev assumed office this week, Mukherjee is likely to discuss a host of bilateral issues, including civil nuclear cooperation, with his counterpart Lavrov.

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